A couple weeks ago, my husband Brad took off work to help with our Elementary school field day – but field day was postponed because of rain so he decided to keep his (much needed) day off and together we took a “hooky day.” He planned a day of exploring local Nashville art galleries for the two of us around town. The day was perfect – not only did we have some wonderful one-on-one time while our 3 girls were in school, but we also got to see and enjoy local and international artists AND explore our city like we never have before!
I’m sharing our route if you’d like to re-create our art crawl, more or less (you’ll see that a couple galleries have either moved or closed, but we found other ways to enjoy the art). It’s a fun route to check out whether you’re visiting Nashville or live here and want to try something new & unique. Every gallery we visited was free to the public and also showed a smaller, intimate collection of art. (Aside: While we didn’t bring our kids, I believe that all of the galleries are kid-friendly – older kids for sure – or stroller/carrier friendly for the youngest & all of the galleries are near fun coffee or ice cream shops if you need a break – with or without kids).
Bennett Gallery, Green Hills
Bennett Galleries is a great local gallery and custom framing shop. They have been in Nashville since 1977. I loved every work in here from the contemporary paintings and landscapes to the gorgeous sculptures. There were some unique pieces including paintings on old church organ pipes and some breathtaking mixed media work. Bennett Gallery shows local, regional and International artists.
Smallest Art Gallery, Hillsboro Village
This is one gallery we were most excited to visit! Sadly, it is no longer here, despite our flustered attempts to track it down. Maybe we should reach out to get it back up again. No worries, though, Jeni’s ice cream is on the block so we enjoyed the art of the perfect ice cream cone, instead.
Haynes Gallery, Franklin
This was another failed attempt at discovering a new local gallery since Haynes was originally in Music Row on Division but has recently moved to Franklin, TN. We will definitely get down to this gallery one day soon, but in the meantime, walking to the old location provided great views of Nashville’s Musica statue by Alan LeQuire (Keep reading for more on Alan LeQuire).
White’s Mercantile, 12 South
The Arts Company, Downtown
The Arts Company is one of several small galleries downtown (near The Frothy Monkey if you need a coffee break or a sweet treat). We enjoyed the current exhibition of Daryl Thetford and I was especially drawn to the work by Laura Nugent. The Arts Company is a small gallery with a nice variety of work to view.
The Rymer Gallery, Downtown
Just down from The Arts Gallery, The Rymer Gallery is in a stunning space with works that both Brad and I loved. Everything in here was intriguing – from the driftwood and glass art to the crayon art; from the paper cutting to the works painted on sheet music. Their exhibitions change regularly, but it is clear that they are always worthwhile. Also,be sure to check out the exit door in the back for another Chris Coleman Art sighting.
(The Tinney Contemporary is down a bit from The Rymer Gallery, but they were changing exhibitions, so we didn’t go in this time – however we peeked at some great pieces through the window!)
Carvidae Collective, Arcade Downtown
Across the street from the previous three galleries is Nashville’s Historic Arcade building filled with several galleries. Due to time constraints, we only visited the Carvidae Collective which also felt a bit like a curiosity museum – two levels with lots of rooms and unique artwork and books made for a fun adventure. They also sell some local jewelry and art products.
LeQuire Gallery, Charlotte Ave, Sylvan Park
Our final stop (before picking our kids up from school) was at LeQuire Gallery near our house. We walked in about 10 minutes before they closed and a gentleman was on a ladder changing a light bulb in the gallery space. He came down to greet us and introduced himself as the artist, Alan Lequire. Alan is a Nashville art luminary – he created Athena at the Parthenon, Musica at Music Row and the Women’s Suffrage Monument in Centennial Park, among many other things. Admittedly we were a little star struck as we chatted about art and sculpture and light bulbs! We were able to view a new International exhibition before it opened the following day and tour his studio (which is open to the public). It was the prefect, personal ending to our day of art.
Have you checked out these galleries before? Where is your favorite art in Nashville? I think next up will be a Nashville mural crawl! Stay tuned!